Former Mason County physician Dr. Jack M. Levine ducks behind his attorney Thomas Spetnagle as they enter the building leading to the Pike County Court on Jan. 16. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)

WAVERLY, Ohio -– A former Mason County physician now awaits a decision by a grand jury if pending drug charges against him have merit.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, Dr. Jack M. Levine was scheduled to go on trial for sexual imposition in Pike County Court. Levine was charged with the crime, a misdemeanor, in December after a female patient he was treating for addiction to prescription pain medication alleged he touched her inappropriately.

However, the Pike County Prosecutor's Office asked that the charge be dismissed. On Feb. 19, it filed charges of information on alleged drug-related activity conducted by Levine discovered in the course of its investigation of the sexual imposition allegation.

According to Thomas Spetnagel, Levine's attorney with the Chillicothe law firm of Spetnagel and McMahon, Levine was charged with one count each of illegal processing of drug documents, deception to obtain a dangerous drug and aggravated possession of drugs. On Feb. 20, Levine made an initial appearance in Pike County Court in which, at the request of the prosecutor's office, was released on his own recognizance, Spetnagel said.

A probable cause hearing on the charges was scheduled for Monday, March 3. However, Spetnagel said Levine agreed to waive the hearing thus sending it over to the Pike Court of Common Pleas to be presented during the next meeting of the grand jury.

The next meeting, according to Spetnagel, is March 20. Though still on paid administrative leave from Pike Community Hospital, and free on his own recognizance, Spetnagel said Levine has been granted permission to write prescriptions for non-narcotic drugs.

When asked if could comment on specifics of the allegations now leveled at his client, Spetnagel said he didn't know the strength of the charges made. However, in talking with Levine, Spetnagel said, "He feels strongly that there is no substance to the charges against him."

In Ohio, illegal processing of drug documents is an F5 felony which carries a penalty of 0-12 months in jail and maximum $2,500 fine.

The deception to obtain, and aggravated possession are both F4 felonies that carry 0-18-months in jail, and a maximum $5,000 fine.

Likewise, F4 felonies carry a mandatory driver's license suspension.

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